Reading: Psalm 90
A prayer of Moses the man of God.
Lord, you have been our dwelling place
throughout all generations.
Before the mountains were born
or you brought forth the whole world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
You turn people back to dust,
saying, “Return to dust, you mortals.”
A thousand years in your sight
are like a day that has just gone by,
or like a watch in the night.
Yet you sweep people away in the sleep of death—
they are like the new grass of the morning:
In the morning it springs up new,
but by evening it is dry and withered (NIV).*
2020 Christmas morning mist, Ottawa, ON — photo by David Kitz
In case you have not noticed, your life on this earth is temporal. It won’t last forever. In fact, there is very little on this earth that fits into the “lasts forever category.” My car fits well into this rusty, temporal category. My physical body will suffer a similar fate. My morning aches and pains remind me of this outcome. In this psalm Moses states the obvious when he makes this declaration: You turn people back to dust, saying, “Return to dust, you mortals.”
James, the brother of our Lord, makes a similar observation: You should know better than to say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to the city. We will do business there for a year and make a lot of money!” What do you know about tomorrow? How can you be so sure about your life? It is nothing more than mist that appears for only a little while before it disappears (James 4:13-14, CEV).
Only God stands apart, above and beyond this temporal world. He is the ageless One, untouched by time. This assertion holds true. A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.
The entire book of Ecclesiastes addresses the topic of the temporal nature of human life. Glenn Fobert has written an excellent book that explains the true meaning of that puzzling book: Everything Is Mist: Ecclesiastes on Life in a Puzzling and Troubled Temporary World
Life is not meaningless or vanity. According to Fobert, scholars have mistranslated the Hebrew word for mist in Ecclesiastes. Life is like a morning fog that lifts and it is gone. Where has it gone? It goes to the eternal One, the Creator of all life. How then should we live? Ecclesiastes gives us the answer. Simply live in full reverence and praise to your Maker.
Response: LORD God, I thank you for being the author of this wonderful thing called life. Today I want to live in humble thanksgiving and praise to you. Let my work, words and conduct honor you. Amen.
Your Turn: Is the Lord your dwelling place? Are you at home with Him?
* New International Version, Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica
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